My Home, My Oasis of Serenity
"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful" William Morris
Hello and welcome to this post about making your house, a real home, an oasis of serenity. Why is it important to take care of our houses and make it real homes, and not just the place we live in? Because it just like third "skin", on top of our biological skin and the clothes we wear. Whether we like it or not, the place we live in reflects on who we are and our behavior both at a conscious and unconscious level, even when we are outside, somewhere far away from our houses.
The picture above is my very own mint blossoming in a garden box hanging right on my kitchen's window. It is so fragrant, beautiful and tasty, both in drinks and foods. It looks like bees are enjoying it too!
I have so far lived in a dozen cities, in ten countries in four continents, and traveled to many many more. I still travel almost every week. Often, people ask me, "But where is home for you?" I love saying that I hail from the beautiful oasis of Central Sahara (isn't romantic?), but the truth is that I am certainly as Saharan as Parisian or New Yorker or Cairote or Berliner. The French accent of my English, the vaguely Egyptian accent of my Arabic as well as my Dazaga accent in my German confuse people further more. The question that often follows is: "What is your mother tongue?" I love to say that it is Dazaga, but the truth is that French is also a native language of mine, I think more in English than any other language, I have had dreams in Spanish and I love Arabic poetry.
Regardless of how often I moved, how long I would be there, wherever I lived, I was fully there and made it as homey as possible, whether it is a shared student room, a studio, an apartment, a house, a mansion, a camping tent or a humble sleeping bag under the stars.
It might be surprising to some people that I am a real homebody. I love to travel, and there is nothing that inspires me more than hitting the road but I also love to spend time as much time as possible at home. As most of my current work related trips are in Europe, whenever possible I sleep in my own bed, even if that means catching the first plane out of Paris and coming back with the last one that day. I also like to know what’s in my plate so I prefer homemade, simple, delicious, organic, plant-based and wholesome foods.
Interestingly, the more I travel, the more I move around, and the older I get, the more my home is becoming an oasis where I cultivate daily serenity, a sanctuary, an intimate refuge far away from the the outside world's sandstorms.
There is an old memory of mine that I really liked as a kid and grew to absolutely love as an adult. I must have been four or five and was watching and then helping one my aunt honor the ancient tradition of straining sand under her tent. In my nomadic culture, whenever we settle somewhere, women strain using a very fine mesh, the sand under their tent and its surroundings. To use my aunt's words, it is only when the finest sand is left that she can call it home: it is gentler to walk on, nicer to sit on and more pleasing for the eye. It is amazing that she spent a whole afternoon straining sand to make a place where she will stay for few weeks more comfortable.
I realised many years later the age-old wisdom she taught me that day: however short you will call a place home, fully inhabit the place, own it and make it a real home. I have since tried to make the same for all the places I called home. As the same way as my aunt was getting rid of the bigger grains of sand under her tent, I am convinced that to make a place really homey, you should get rid of anything that could be bothersome, regardless of whether you are just moving in, have been there for few years or lived there for your entire life.
It is truly important to get rid of any grain of sand that is making your life in your house less than absolutely comfortable, even if that means moving houses out all together. This has included for me knickknacks, poor quality materials, creaking doors, bathroom fittings lacking luster, bad lightning, bulky furniture, anything useless, ugly items, uncomfortable mattress, noisy stuff... And most importantly any kind of clutter, as this is the fastest way to feel overwhelmed in your own place while this should be the place where you should be serene.
I initially planned to include the decluttering process I used and would recommend in this article but there are so many things to cover, that I decided that instead of rushing it through it here, it deserved a separate article on its own. I will be walking you through a step-by-step guide on decluterring your home and make it the oasis of serenity it has always supposed to be. So, stay tuned!
And you, what do you think about straining the sand under your tent? What are your ways of making your place an oasis of serenity? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Spread the love, to make the whole world an oasis of serenity and share this article around you. If you have not yet done so, please do not forget to subscribe and walk with everyone else who have joined me the journey to a simpler, richer, happier, more beautiful life. Thank you!